INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL

Can Finland upset France for a play-off spot?

Desperate Finland hoping to stop France

Finland will take on the current World Champions France, as they will try to finish second in Group D. France have already booked their spot in the FIFA 2022 World Cup, but for Finland, the play-off spot is still not guaranteed.

France has 15 points in Group D, meanwhile, Finland with 11 points could still drop down to the third position in the group. The World Cup qualifiers are designed so that the team that tops the group are given direct qualification and the team that finish second will have another chance in the play-offs.

The match will be held in the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki. In the reverse fixture, France comfortably won against Finland with a scoreline of 2-0.

FINLAND v FRANCE: MATCH PREVIEW

France will head into the match with nothing at stake. Manager Didier Deschamps will have the freedom to experiment with his side, trying on a different set of players and systems.

As for the host, the result with France is vital for their chances for qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar. Ukraine is 3rd on the Group D table and a victory to them will give them 12 points. This means that unless Ukraine drop points against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland will have to at least get a point against France.

Finland has previously played France 7 times, but have lost them all. France, on the other hand, are one of the best sides in the world and are coming back from a thumping 8-0 victory over Kazakhstan.

TEAM NEWS AND POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Hosts Finland will be without right-back Jukka Raitala, who is suspended after getting a red card in his previous match. Either Jere Uronen or Albin Granlund are expected to replace him in the starting eleven.

Centre-back Robert Evanov is also a doubt having been subbed off in the previous match due to an injury. Paulus Arajuuri came in as his substitute and could hence start the match against France.

France does not have any fresh injuries after their last match against Kazakhstan. However, Ngolo Kante could be rested and Aurelian Tchouameni could replace him as a precaution. Matteo Guendouzi could also receive his debut for the senior team, while Kurt Zouma and Benjamin Pavard might get a start.

FINLAND: Hradecky; Uronen, Arajuuri, O’Shaughnessy, Vaisanen, Hamalainen; Kamara, Lod, Schuller; Pukki, Forss.

FRANCE: Lloris; Kounde, Zouma, L. Hernandez; Pavard, Tchouameni, Rabiot, Digne; Griezmann; Mbappe, Ben Yedde.

PREDICTIONS: FINLAND 1- 3 FRANCE

Though Finland has more at stake, France could be too much for them to handle. The World Champions will be looking to end the campaign in style and finish with a victory.

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